These pecans have inspired me! I’m always on the lookout for great food sources – places where I can buy normal quantities of especially great organic food directly from the farm for a reasonable price. I’ve found a few fantastic places and I figure that you’d like to know about them too. So I’ll be interspersing my usual recipe blogs with an insider’s guide to great food sources. Since it’s the Holiday Season, what better place to start than with awesome pecans from the Pecan Shop, a small family farm in central Texas. Stay tuned for a delicious holiday pecan dessert recipe in next week’s post.
If you’d like to order these pecans click here.
What’s so special about these pecans?
I never knew there was anything wrong with commercially grown pecans (especially the organic ones) until I tasted these wild pecans. These sweet, small, fresh pecans make those fat, flabby ones taste rancid (which they probably are) and flavorless. If you’ve ever picked fruit fresh from a tree or eaten a strawberry right off the plant you know the difference I’m talking about.
Nuts are best for you when soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated (see below). The Pecan Shop does that work for you, which is amazing!
A baking note: I buy the Sea Salt variety for baking instead of the raw ones because they’re soaked and dehydrated (see benefits below). They’re only lightly salted so they’re still great for baking. The tiny bit of salt brings out the sweetness of the dessert.
Wild and Organic: The trees are wild and haven’t been planted in orchards. So you’re eating genetically diverse pecans with all the nutrients in them that are supposed to be there – not “improved” pecan trees with higher yields and disease resistance. The trees are native, don’t require irrigation and are compatible with soil-building grasses and the environment. The pecans are fresh, since they’re direct from the farmer, and haven’t been sitting around in a warehouse for months getting rancid. If you’d like to read about all the crap that’s allowed to be sprayed on commercial pecan trees take a look at the “UGA Commercial Pecan Spray Guide 2014.”
Why are soaked, sprouted, and dehydrated nuts better for you?
Raw nuts contain phytic acid that blocks the ability of our bodies to absorb nutrients from other foods. Our ancestors knew that eating raw nuts was not a great idea and that they needed to be properly prepared. Soaking, sprouting and dehydrating nuts solves the problem.
When I first heard about the soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating thing I thought it was just some esoteric obsession that only food fanatics cared about. Turns out I was wrong. Luckily you don’t have to go to all the trouble yourself and can just buy these pecans already properly prepared. To learn more about the science behind this see “Preparing Grains, Nuts, Seeds and Beans for Maximum Nutrition.”
Sounds good but do they cost a fortune?
The price is totally reasonable and the shipping is free in the USA. They also ship overseas for a reasonable rate. Since I have so many subscribers from South Africa I’ve gotten the shipping cost for you guys: up to 5 lb. $10/lb for shipping; 10 lb. $7/lb; 20 lb. $6/lb
About the Pecan Shop Farm:
David Brydon and his wife Amy run the pecan farm in Texas. I asked him to tell me a little about his farm. I’ll close this post with the story he shared with me:
“Amy’s folks sold their house in Austin and bought the 40 acre farm where we now live in the 100 year old farm house and they in a cottage next door. W are working to build the soil and establish a diverse sustainable living piece of land here with the pecan business supporting our efforts.
Amy and I were married in Austin in 1991 while I was a graduate student at University of Texas. We picked up John Jeavon’s book How to Grow More Vegetables… at a yard sale and tried to garden, but totally failed. We moved to New Mexico and could not even grow a radish, but in the library I found The Unsettling of America and Home Economics by Wendell Berry and started longing for an agricultural life. Now many years later together with our children and parents we have a productive garden, 2 Jersey milk cows, chickens, and some grain crops. We make yogurt, butter and cheese and grind wheat and corn to make bread.
I wanted to support our family with work that I could do on our farm with my children, so in 2010 we took over our neighbors’ pecan shelling business. We already loved the wild native pecans that are abundant along the streams and rivers of Central Texas because they are unsprayed, have excellent flavor, and are sustainable since they integrate well with grazing and do not require tillage. Pecans had always been a staple at our family table. When a friend taught Amy how to soak and dry them using the instructions in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, the Crispy recipe became our standard fare for granola toppings and munching because we loved the taste and long shelf life. We also found they added crunch and flavor on salads, soups, greens, and so on.
But our pecan shelling was just a sideline business until our neighbor Craig Miller at Mill-King dairy, who had given me work and helped us with our cows, invited me to the Clifton Farmer’s Market. We sold the fresh and crispy pecans there and got to know more of our neighbors. Soon we were in several local farmers markets.
My interest in smoking meats led to our mesquite-smoked pecans. People asked about a sweetened pecan, and after more than 100 experiments, we settled on our Apple Pie recipe using local wildflower honey, apples, and cinnamon.
We activate our pecans by soaking them overnight in filtered water with a little Redmond sea salt. The sea salt adds flavor and retards unwanted microbial growth during the soak. The soaking does two things: It dissolves the enzyme inhibitors that are found in all nuts and seeds to preserve them until they are wet in the ground. Our pancreas has to work to digest the enzyme inhibitors, giving unsoaked nuts the reputation of being hard to digest in large quantities. As a bonus of soaking, the nut germinates, flooding it with extra vitamins and enzymes. Then low heat makes the pecans crispy, tender, and buttery without damaging these delicate nutrients
Folks ask for a spicy recipe, and last year we made chocolate pecans that are satisfaction in one bite, and some delicious mini pecan pies, but our goal is to farm, so I chose to simplify what we do to seek some order and balance for our family after the intense push of launching our family business.
Wheatsville called us early, looking for local pecans, and we will always be grateful for their enthusiastic support. The farmers markets provided the weekly income and inspiration that gave us hope that the pecan work could provide for our family. The support, encouragement, generosity and trust of our family, friends, neighbors, and customers have made it possible through their kindness and giving.”